Simone Jackson ’21
“When the word ‘leader’ comes to mind, there is no doubt in my mind that Simone fits the description in so many ways. She is one of the best I have had in my career. Simone’s smile lights up any room. Her peers are drawn to her kindness, strength, intellect, and her drive to be her best self in every situation. She is all these things while being the most humble teenager.” These words, from BMHS alumnus and science teacher Alvin Dunn ’96, perfectly describe Bishop senior Simone Jackson ’21 and her impact on the school since her arrival on campus. Midway through her freshman year, Simone transferred to BMHS because, as she says, “it is a faith-based, diverse, college-preparatory program that cares and supports the pursuit of my dreams.” Because of the warm welcome she received, she was inspired to give back and become a Link Crew Leader in order to help freshmen adjust to life in high school and connect with their classmates. In addition to serving on Link Crew, Simone is proud to be one of the founding members, and co-Presidents, of Bishop’s Black Student Union.
Simone did not become a leader upon her arrival at Bishop. Long before, she established herself as a person who strived to inspire others as well as create change in the communities in which she was involved. With a passion for athletics and a love of helping people, Simone has travled the United States and the world as a member of both the LAFC Slammers Club soccer team and the US Soccer’s U-17 Women’s National Team (she is a starting forward for the national team and is the top-ranked soccer player in Southern Califormia in her age group). On the national team, she recently received the Most Inspirational Player Award for her character and leadership during the team’s international friendly matches in Sweden. She uses her platform not only to inspire her teammates, but also the young girls who one day aspire to compete for the United States. “With these blessings and experiences, I do my best to take what I have learned and contribute it to my community to help lead and inspire my peers,” she says.
In addition to her roles with Link Crew and the Black Student Union, Simone has participated on Bishop’s girls’ soccer and track teams. As a freshman, she committed to the University of Southern California on a full athletic scholarship for women’s soccer. In early September, her college application to USC was officially accepted and she credits those around her for helping her achieve her goals: “I could not have had a better counselor (Ms. Jen Sabol) or AP English teacher (Ms. Melissa Rhoades-Rudder ’01) through this period.”
Following graduation, Simone will attend USC and play for the women’s soccer team while she pursues a degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Cinematic Arts. Her goals certainly do not end there. “I dream about playing professional women’s soccer in France,” she says. “I would also love to continue on my National Soccer Team track and hopefully represent my country in a World Cup and Olympics one day.”
What do you think is the most important quality that a leader must have?
“I am a firm believer in James Baldwin’s quote stating, ‘Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.’ The most important quality a leader must possess is the ability to adjust, face, and inevitably act on change in their environment. Life is ever-changing, so the person willing to switch lanes in the sense of tackling problems with new perspectives and an ongoing tenacity will reach their destination sooner and with greater satisfaction, while simultaneously paving the roadmap for others through their actions. I envision this analogy as leadership and the more a leader knows himself or herself, the clearer their destination becomes because they will know what passions they want to wholeheartedly invest their time in.”
How do you see yourself as a leader?
“As a competitive athlete and a leader, I try to embody the mindset of ‘why not me?’ Believing and simply being yourself is one of the best forms of leadership. When you lead by example and pursue what you love with all you have, it is almost contagious to those around you.”
What are some of your leadership qualities that you learned, and were cultivated, since you have been at Bishop?
“Some of my leadership qualities consist of hard-work through example, open-mindedness, and my understanding and ability to converse and convey messages amongst people from all types of backgrounds. My involvement in various Bishop extracurricular activities and religion courses helped broaden my understanding, interest, and confidence in my perspectives on certain issues. Lastly, my participation in Ms. Rudder´s AP English classes has been instrumental in developing the way I express my opinions to a larger audience.”
Who are some people in your life who inspire you?
“I am an extremely family-oriented person and I am blessed to be surrounded by a family that inspires me day in and day out. My older brother attends USC on a football scholarship and exemplifies through hard work and amazing character what being a good person first looks like. My dad, having played for and worked for USC Football, teaches and shows me the importance of legacy, tradition, and surrounding yourself with like-minded friends whose loyalty and love mirrors a second family. Although my mom went to UCLA and we are a USC family, she inspires me to be more kind, loving, and forgiving. Lastly, my younger brother, my little baseball star, inspires me to truly enjoy the present and do what I love.”